Miller rolls out plastic bottles

Company calls them 'one of the biggest breakthroughs in the beer world in years'

Mar 9, 2000 - Miller Brewing Co. has begun selling Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Icehouse beers in recyclable plastic bottles, making it the first brewer to offer widespread distribution in plastic in the United States.


"We understand the skepticism," Miller spokesman Scott Bussen said. "There is a long-standing emotional bond between adult beer drinkers and that glass bottle. We don't see plastic replacing aluminum or glass. But we do think there is a place for it. It offers a flexible packaging choice we think was missing in the beer industry."

Bob Mikulay, Miller's senior vice president of marketing, said plastic bottles "represent one of the biggest breakthroughs in the beer world in years and have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response."

Miller tested the bottles for 18 months in special markets before deciding on a national roll out. Anheuser-Busch tested beer in plastic bottles on a smaller scale but abandoned the project because of "limited consumer interest."

Miller says the resealable 16- and 20-ounce bottles offer the same four-month shelf life as glass bottles and aluminum cans and stay cold as long as glass and longer than cans. The plastic bottles are one-seventh the weight of comparably sized glass bottles and can be recycled. They go places, such as beaches and golf course, bottles don't. They have already been sold in more than 20 NFL stadiums, 12 Major League Baseball parks and eight NBA/NHL arenas.

Recycling officials point out that the bottles are not totally "recycling friendly." The Miller plastic bottles are brown, and brown plastic bottles cannot be recycled with other plastic soda and water bottles. The cost of separating the brown bottles will be economically unfeasible for many recycling programs.

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